WIN / WIN
The goals of our affinity group extend beyond simply saving the Harvey Milk Plaza from demolition and replacement. We embrace refreshing all surfaces and improving the plaza and related green belt plus making the Milk memorial truly memorable.
We support the LGBTQ Veterans in their quest to designate the area near Collingwood as a memorial. We recognize the importance of protecting and replenishing the extensive landscaping and natural drainage at the stepped terraces known as Harvey's Garden.
We support SFMTA's ADA Compliance project for the station, plaza, and related Market St. bus stops.
The existing plaza can work
with the proposed "reimagining" of Harvey Milk Plaza!
When the Castro MUNI METRO subway station opened in 1980, it featured a transit plaza that has successfully served thousands of commuters and visitors to the Castro for 42 years. In 1985, the plaza was dedicated to Harvey Milk, who was one of the first openly gay elected officials in the US and assassinated in 1978.
The full San Francisco Arts Commission voted unanimously on October 4, 2021 to approve FHMP's demolish & replace plans for Harvey Milk Plaza. Not one comment was made by commissioners in response to public comments pleading for consideration of climate change, transit patrons, Historical Resource Evaluation, or public preference for improvement over demolition!
This project was subject to an Environmental Impact Review. One question it had to answer is "Is there a less destructive alternative?" Advocates published a plan that demonstrates how Harvey Milk Plaza can fit within the FHMP plans while retaining their main features. Unfortunately, SF Planning approved the EIR without public comment!
The SF Planning Department released a Phase I Historical Resource Evaluation as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that concluded Harvey Milk Plaza is eligible for historic preservation! However, the Phase II, environmental impact report asserted that HMP refers only to the sidewalk at the corner of Castro St. and Market St. despite the Historical Resource Evaluation describing a two-level plaza and including photos of the lower station level!
SAVE THE PLAZA
AND MAKE IT BETTER!
In the 37 years Harvey Milk Plaza has existed, we have witnessed the loss of so many businesses and institutions that gave the Castro its LGBT character: the Patio Cafe, All American Boy, The Elephant Walk, Worn Out West, The Center for Living, (insert your favorite here)... And now the pandemic has made the Castro even more vulnerable. Previous FHMP plans estimated spending $10 - 30 million to demolish & replace the plaza and greenbelt! Is it socially responsible to needlessly spend that huge sum when the plaza and memorial could be improved without demolition?
Don't send the plaza to landfill!
How many people have made their first pilgrimage to gay mecca and arrived at the Castro station, walked out into the plaza past the Harvey Milk Memorial and climbed the broad stairs to witness Twin Peaks Bar and the iconic Castro Theater sign? To see Gilbert Baker's glorious rainbow flag flying above and to know they were "home"? We may not know how much we'll miss it until the plaza and green belt are demolished and paved.
Want to help?
Join our Facebook page and keep informed about all news related to the plaza; comment and attend neighborhood and city agency meetings when the Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza plans are scheduled for review.
To become an Advocate for Harvey Milk Plaza
go to our facebook page:
IDEAS TO IMPROVE THE PLAZA
SFMTA has prepared plans indicating all the surfaces available for artwork that could make the Harvey Milk memorial worthy of the slain SF Supervisor. The Castro transit plaza was dedicated to him in 1985 by the Friends of Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club (not to be confused with the Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza - a new group that uses the same name). For 21 years, the memorial only consisted of a bronze dedication plaque! In 2006 three panels of photographs donated by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were attached to a steel fence installed by MUNI to discourage the homeless.
There are many possibilities
to make HMP better!
At plaza level, a large wall can feature a mural, a living wall, or a water wall. The station mezzanine could be free of advertising and feature Milk photographs and art. A bust or statue of Harvey Milk could make a dramatic statement.
Recreation of a mural by Johanna Poethig which was dedicated to Harvey Milk and the first AIDS victims in 1988. It was painted over when the HM Recreational Center was remodeled.
A transparent canopy over the plaza area with a roll down closure grille can be transparent to allow views of the 1925 old Bank of America beaux arts facade and views through to Collingwood for security purposes.
The plaza bridge can be a protected historic site. It features Harvey's name in large letters and one of its columns bears the memorial plaque installed when Dianne Feinstein, Harry Britt, and John Molinari dedicated the plaza in Milk's name in 1985!
FHMP's designers have submitted plans for a Memorial Grove near Collingwood. The 5 palm trees at the top could be dedicated to the gay men and women who served in five branches of the armed forces as The LGBTQ Veterans Grove. Harvey was in the navy and Gilbert Baker the army. Leonard Matlovich, the first openly gay military person to come out during the Don't Ask, Don't Tell period lived around the corner from the plaza.
Please consider signing an initiative to support the creation of the nation's first LGBTQ Veterans Grove and Harvey's Garden - A Watershed Garden.
Here are more ideas for artwork in the station
at mezzanine and platform level.
A canopy over the plaza and Milk memorial.
A digital display could feature Milk videos.
A boarded up opening could be re-opened.
Benches and planting at serpentine wall.
Posters and art at mezzanine walls.
Art honoring Harvey
SFMTA planned changes to HM plaza
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's ADA Compliance project will add an elevator on the south side of the station that will provide access to Market St. bus stops, sidewalk level, the station mezzanine, and MuniMetro platform
Saving HMP is consistent with SF Climate Change Initiatives
PLAZA PREFERENCES POLLS
In January 2018, 152 residents of the Castro neighborhood responded to a poll posted on the Nextdoor website. It asked what they would and wouldn't like to see happen to the Harvey Milk Plaza. 67% wanted an efficient connection between the MuniMetro station and street level transportation. 46% wanted green space. Only 33% wanted a new gathering space!
(FHMP's primary goal)